Alzheimer’s is a progressive brain disorder characterized by the continuous and uncontrollable death of brain cells. It is the most common cause of another serious brain malfunction known as dementia. Dementia can be described as the deterioration of thinking, behavioral, and social skills.
As you can expect, dementia takes away an individual’s ability to function without assistance.
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Early Signs of Alzheimer’s Disease
How can you tell if you or your loved one is suffering from Alzheimer’s?
- Forgetfulness: One of the classic symptoms of Alzheimer’s is forgetting things that have happened recently. People with Alzheimer’s may have a hard time recalling recent conversations and events.
- Dehydration: In its advanced stages, Alzheimer’s starts to interfere with crucial brain functions. One of the consequences of the mass extinction of brain cells is dehydration, which is why this brain disorder often turns lethal.
- Malnutrition: Brain function suffers dramatically to a point whereby the body is incapable of assimilating the nutrients it needs for survival. This leads to severe malnutrition and even death.
- Infection: The final nail in Alzheimer’s coffin is the eventual dysfunction of the immune system, which leaves patients vulnerable to many diseases. Unfortunately, few of them survive this symptom.
Is Alzheimer’s Curable?
Sadly, there is no cure for Alzheimer’s.
Today’s Alzheimer’s medications are designed to slow down the rate of decline and improve the symptoms. Although they won’t reverse the damage caused to brain cells, they give patients the ability to function independently, even if it’s only temporarily.
However, there is hope for Alzheimer’s patients. It comes in the form of a recently green-lit form of medicine that has already proven quite effective in managing similar neurological disorders (such as epilepsy). This miracle remedy has few to no side effects, delivers near-instant results, and has shown significant promise in treating and managing Alzheimer’s disease.
This medical marvel is none other than marijuana.
Cannabis and Alzheimer’s
For years, medical marijuana has been one of the most sought-after panaceas for virtually every incurable condition under the sun. Scientists have already extensively researched Alzheimer’s and cannabis to see the correlation between the two, particularly how medical marijuana affects the symptoms of brain disorder.
The use of medical cannabis in the treatment and management of pain is already in full swing. There are already two FDA-approved cannabis drugs (Nabilone and Dronabinol) prescribed for chronic and acute pain. Cannabis products are also used on HIV and cancer patients to manage pain and increase appetite.
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Does that mean that cannabis, Alzheimer’s only threat at the moment, is a risk-free cure for the degenerative brain disease?
Concerns About Medical Marijuana for Alzheimer’s Disease
There’s no disputing the fact that marijuana products are quite effective for managing Alzheimer’s disease. However, that shouldn’t imply that they are completely risk-free.
Cannabis products may provide unrivaled pain relief and even help mitigate some dangerous brain diseases like epilepsy. That doesn’t mean that they’re 100% harmless.
- Medical Marijuana can be extremely habit-forming
This may be the main reason why the American Medical Association is hesitant about approving marijuana as a certified Alzheimer’s medication. They’ve cited studies that show how medical marijuana products with high THC content can be addictive, and therefore not suitable for everyone.
Fortunately, since it is possible to control the THC content in marijuana, Alzheimer’s patients don’t need to worry too much about addiction.
- Marijuana has been linked with causing dementia
Marijuana and dementia share a weird relationship. On the one hand, long-term marijuana use is likely to cause dementia because it impacts blood flow to the hippocampus, the part of the brain responsible for memory and learning.
On the other hand, THC has been proven to improve learning and memory capabilities in mice with dementia.
Another study shows that it can also treat vascular dementia, which is the exact kind of dementia caused by Alzheimer’s.
Therefore, it is likely that medical marijuana will do better for someone already affected by dementia.
- Can Marijuana Treat Alzheimer’s?
Recent studies suggest that medical cannabis can be quite effective against Alzheimer’s disease.
According to a report in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, THC (the psychoactive compound in cannabis) stops the production of a protein called B-amyloid. This protein is often present in high quantities in patients with Alzheimer’s.
Another study published in 2016 by SALK hints at marijuana’s ability to stop developing plaque in brain cells.
A third study concluded that medical cannabis oil is a good remedy for Alzheimer’s as it reduces aggression, depression, anxiety, and hallucinations—all classic symptoms of the brain disease.
How Cannabis Works?
When consumed (whether by inhalation, ingestion, or topical application), cannabis releases compounds known as cannabinoids. These attach to the body’s endocannabinoid system, which is present and active in everyone, even non-users.
The cannabinoids attach to CB1, and CB2 receptors then send signals to the brain to stop the production of neurofibrillary tangles and amyloid plaques. Both of these are responsible for Alzheimer’s disease.
How Alzheimer’s Patients Should Use Medical Marijuana
Due to the memory problems suffered by patients, you will likely have to step in and help your loved one with Alzheimer’s to effectively use medical marijuana.
The doctor won’t dictate the dosage. Here’ you’ll have to go with trial and error, adjusting the dosage according to how the patient responds. One common way to get the appropriate dose is through micro-dosing (taking extremely small amounts at a time).
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Before You Can Use Medical Marijuana…
You will need a medical marijuana card. This allows you to legally purchase and consume marijuana products in the states where it is allowed. Without it, you’ll not be able to access any of the products at your local marijuana dispensary.
Fortunately, it is very easy to obtain a medical marijuana card online. MMJ Doctor makes it as straightforward as possible without skipping necessary steps like doctor-patient consultations and medical evaluations.
You can talk to a professional to learn more about medical cannabis for Alzheimer’s and management and understand how you can get your very own cannabis license.